Posts Tagged ‘socioeconomic diversity’

Why Should We Occupy Stanford?

Thursday, October 13th, 2011

Protesters are not only Occupying Wall Street, they’re occupying Los Angeles, Philadelphia, Seattle, Portland, Boston, and more college campuses than I can even list.  Citizens of the United States have finally reached a breaking point and are finally pouring out their frustrations with our financial industry on a steadily growing national stage. I think this is a brilliant moment for the 99%.

But I think it’s a hypocritical one for Stanford. Our students are currently in the works of creating Stanford’s own Occupy demonstration.

I think Teryn Norris and Eli Pollack stated the student body’s best way to support the movement when they said “Stop the Wall Street Recruitment.” If we are truly angry with our financial institutions, then we need to boycott their recruitment. We need to show that they are uninvited on our campus. But we’re smart people – we know that dismissing the financial sector entirely would be ridiculous. A good way to make change in these corporations is internally. Waving around signs isn’t going to do much unless we use leverage the ideals Stanford imbued in us to make a change in the way that these corporations are run.

Besides, I do think it’s a bit contrived to jump on a national bandwagon. If job security and the wealth disparitywere a large concern here, I think our outspoken students would have spoken up already. Why Occupy Stanford when we can bolster the more sustained protests happening right next door in Palo Alto? Why should we Occupy Stanford itself? I know that this is in support of of the other movements but we need to acknowledge basic facts about ourselves before we form a picket line.


A Real Thought on Socioeconomic Diversity

Monday, April 18th, 2011

Last Thursday, I attended a Fireside Chat led by the Dean of Admissions Richard Shaw concerning the “Value of the Socioeconomic Diversity in Higher Education.” For better or for worse, people don’t talk about income at this school. Hardly anyone is overt about the money their parents do or don’t have and this allows students to interact on an even playing field. Money issues don’t matter. But money issues are also subsequently glossed over. I was excited that the dean of admissions was willing to have a discussion about the topic with students. Yet out of the 53 people that claimed they would attend, a little less than 20 actually appeared. This was shocking considering how many people were worried about the investment in higher education sparked by Deresciewicz’s talk. If the people attending top colleges are sheep blindly doing whats expected of them by pursuing higher education, why should alumnus pay money to have more sheep attend the school?

But don’t worry – I don’t think the talk was very focused on the topic anyways. It seemed that the majority of students that submitted questions were from FLIP or were low-income. The first hour was spent reassuring students of low-income that they were meant to be here. I understand the questions – whether you are considered low or high-income sometimes Stanford can be intimidating. There’s always one moment when you pause and ask yourself what your admissions officer was thinking. There was also a debate about the different definitions of low income set by Stanford’s and the US definition that’s causing Stanford’s meaning of economic diversity to be misleading but it was still not pertinent to the topic.

My main issue with the talk was that it didn’t actually refer to the contribution that socioeconomic diversity provides to the campus. There’s the usual matter of accurate representation of the nation in the student body. In some ways it’s also a way to prove that people from all classes can excel at elite institutions. But as one of the many people here with some form of financial aid, I feel like economic diversity contributes more than representation. They do more than make this institution look good on paper. Besides the fact that brilliance comes from all backgrounds, socioeconomic diversity brings in two things Deresciewicz thinks we’re lacking: perspective and empathy.